Will BC Hydro create a home solar power revolution? In contrast to what is happening in Germany we are not harnessing the power of small. The comment below is from the article, Can BC Make Solar Bloom? in The Tyee the past june.
Solar electricity and the German experience
Germany which has lower average solar energy radiation than we have in Vancouver, has installed approximately 50 % of the worlds’ photovoltaic (solar electric) panels. And why is that? The government of the day chose to make homes micro energy producers, thus reducing the need to build new power plants. They decided that many small hands could make “light work” (sorry for the pun). And that’s what happened.
How did they do it? They used an excellent “feed in” tariff (the rate the utility credited the homeowner for producing the solar power) – but the government of the day went one better. They used a dual metering system which applies credit at the *point of production* – not just “left over” power (like we currently have in BC which pays a trivial rate). BC Hydro buys back surplus power at a lower rate than what it costs customers to buy electricity.
The German homeowner receives a credit at point of production at approximately $0.50 per kilowatt hour, and the homeowner purchases electricity at approximately $0.20 cents per kilowatt hour. Kind of like a credit and debit sheet on the bill. Homeowners – and the nation – win on the balance sheet.
German government subsidized a sustainable resource – not the fossil fuel industry (as we in Canada do).
The upshot? Fewer new power plants were needed for peak power requirements (like for air conditioning systems on hot sunny days). People covered their roofs in solar panels, and are able to pay off their solar systems before the warranties expired. Photovoltaic (PV) system Warranties are usually 20 years. PV systems last far past their warranties. They’re generally warranted to drop 20% in capacity after 20 years. The original solar panel developed in the 50’s is still working.
What happens if every homeowner discovers that environmentalism is fundamentally good for their pocket? That is – good for their health, their children’s and their elders health, and good for the local, provincial and national economy.
My neighbourhood had a block party yesterday. We really enjoyed Ricardo Garcia with his friends Rae Bowhay and Roberto Benson. This week they are playing at the Water Front Theatre on Granville Island as part of the Fringe Festival on Monday at 21:45, Thur at 17:00, and Friday at 20:45. Enjoy!
cheakamus lake, 28 July 2008
After all the Sunday service and gatherings my family with our friends Ryan and Andrea headed north into Beautiful BC. In spite of our anxiety about traffic and the Pemberton Music Festival it was smooth sailing all the way to the parking lot for the trail into Cheakamus Lake in the Garibaldi Park. We went in about 4 km before setting up our tents right on the lake in front of spectacular mountain views. I was in awe! Now I must confess that our plastic children’s wagon being pulled, dragged and cajoled over this trail was quite the sight! We have been car-campers up until now, so all of our stuff is BIG, and weighs a lot! Our guides were very kind!
In the morning as I awakened I was delighted to hear the roar of many waters–a small stream, a waterfall on the other side of the lake, and the Cheakamus River. I was reminded of the Elder John’s description of Jesus’ voice, “His voice was like the roar of many waters.” (Revelation 1:15) When you are right in the midst of such a sound it is all you can hear. It drowns out any other sound. However it is not an overwhelming sound; rather it is comforting, soothing, peaceful–but ever-present and even commanding. This is the voice of the Resurrected Jesus, familiar yet bigger. John says, “I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me.” (Revelation 1:12) John’s experience is not something just happening in his head; rather this is an experience of Jesus’ revelation that occurs outside of him; it is real.
Day in and day out the spiritual discipline of making space to meet with Jesus means that I must clear out, turn down, and even turn off the many other voices that compete for my heart. The moments of great clarity are not as frequent as I would like. However, I am confident that Jesus still speaks and that He is guiding His church into fellowship with Him.
The Vancouver Courier has an interesting article on Martin Burger’s venture to harness the tidal power off BC’s coast. There still continues to be resistance to moving forward on the most dynamic energy sources on the planet, the tides, the winds, and the sun.